No one ever wishes to be involved in a car accident, but in the unfortunate event that you or your loved one gets injured in such an accident, it's essential to know how to maximize your settlement. However, before we discuss how to maximize your settlement, let's first take a look at its importance in the first place.
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Why Should You Maximize Your Settlement?
Maximizing your settlement after a car accident does not mean you are greedy, malicious, or anything along those lines. It simply means you value your health and want to live an everyday life even after the accident. To put things into perspective, did you know that you cannot file a new claim once you accept the initial settlement amount from the insurance company?
Yes, when you reach an agreement with the insurance provider after a car accident, and you sign the release of settlement agreement, you cannot sue them again over the same accident, hoping to recover more settlement. But this is something most insurance companies will not tell you. Instead, they will secretly hope that you agree to settle - and as soon as possible - to close the case.
They know once you sign the agreement, you approve to waive your rights to sue them. This statement usually appears in most release of settlement agreements, but many people do not have the time to go through several pages reading a lot of legal jargon.
Instead, they head straight to the signature section of the page and sign agreements they do not even understand. While they may walk away thinking that they just signed a great deal with the insurance company, things are not always as they seem.
Picture this—you get involved in a car accident and suffer what you believe are minor injuries. The other party's insurance company contacts you a few days later and offers to settle your injuries for a certain amount of money. At that point, you are probably in urgent need of financial help.
Your bills are piling up, and you cannot work. So without thinking too much into it, you agree to sign the settlement agreement. You then collect the payment, settle your medical expenses, and have a few hundred dollars left to pay your other remaining bills.
Two months after the accident, you begin to develop severe back pain. The excruciating pain prevents you from going to work and accomplishing your daily tasks. You decide to go back for further medical checkups, and that's when the reality hits you. You broke your spinal cord, and you will need several surgeries. Unfortunately, your health insurance policy does not cover surgeries and other similar expensive procedures; if they do, it only covers a small portion.
Since you cannot work, you do not have any other means to raise money for your surgery. The GoFundMe page you opened to try to raise part of the amount has been a huge disappointment. Your friends who pledged to donate have failed to honor their pledges.
An idea comes to your mind. You pick up the phone and call the other party's insurance company. You inform them about your recent medical complications arising from the accident, but they coldly and boldly inform you that they have nothing to do with your back pain. They also remind you that you signed the release agreement a few months ago and that the case is settled already. This kind of frustration could change your life forever.
But sadly, this has been the reality for many people. Some are in huge debt simply because they settled for less after a car accident. Others have sunk into depression because they cannot seem to find a way to sustain their new lives after the accident.
Tips on Maximizing Your Settlement After a Car Accident
Knowing how to maximize your settlement from a car accident could save you a lot of pain and misery. Here are some tips to always keep in mind.
Call 911 and Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important thing to do after a car accident is to call 911. This step is very important and applies even if you did not suffer any serious injuries.
There is always a possibility that the other party might ask you not to call 911, promising to settle the issue without involving the police or paramedics. But you should never fall for this trick. Most accident victims regret it when they agree to keep the police, witnesses, medical experts, or other parties out of the accident.
This is because the at-fault party could fail to honor their promises. And when that happens, you will not be able to prove that they were responsible for the accident.
When you call 911, remember to request a police officer at the scene. The officer will write an accident report confirming the accident happened and those involved. Therefore, it will be much more difficult for the other party and their insurer to deny liability.
In addition, seeking immediate medical attention no later than 14 days after the accident allows the doctor to examine your injury. The doctor will then write a report stating the injuries sustained, recommended or provided treatment, and future treatment plans, among other important details. This information comes in handy when negotiating a settlement with the insurer.
Document the Accident
Insurance companies will not settle if certain accident details are missing. When documenting the accident, ask yourself the following questions:
- How did the accident occur?
- Who was at fault?
- What were you doing when the accident happened?
- What was the other party doing when the accident occurred?
- Where did the accident occur?
- When did the accident occur? (Document the date and time)
Tell Your Doctor How You Feel
You may be tempted to' play tough' when seeking medical attention after a car accident. Some people would rather take painkillers than tell their doctors that they are experiencing terrible headaches.
Do not ignore any pain or discomfort after a car accident. Whether it is a slight headache or nausea, these symptoms could derive from a bigger problem. Your doctor needs to know exactly how you feel in order to prescribe the right medication and initiate the best treatment process.
For example, you may experience a headache after a car accident. This could result from whiplash or something as serious as brain damage. Being honest with your doctor allows them to diagnose and treat these conditions before they become severe.
Do Not Ignore Your Doctor's Instructions
Ignoring the doctor's instructions is one of the biggest mistakes many car accident victims make. It is important that you do what your doctor says even if you feel better or completely fine after several medical appointments. Doctors have years of training and experience handling these kinds of injuries. They know how long it takes to recover fully and what needs to be done for a successful recovery.
Your health aside, let's discuss the importance of following the doctor's advice after a car accident from the insurance provider's perspective. When you get injured in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, their insurance company will not just process your claim without questions. They will not pay your medical bills without a fight. In fact, they will try to blame you for the accident. And if that option does not work, they will claim that the treatment you are currently receiving is not necessary; therefore, no need for them to pay for it.
Since the insurance company is fighting against you and your medical needs, the last thing you want is to make the fight a lot easier for them. Failure to follow the doctor's advice makes it easier for insurance companies to dispute your claim.
For example, suppose you fail to show up for therapy as recommended by your doctor a certain number of times a week. In that case, the insurance company will obtain this information and claim that you did not need therapy or were not injured in the first place.
Do Not Accept the Initial Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
When you get injured in an accident caused by another driver's negligence, their insurer will most likely contact you to propose a settlement offer. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that insurance companies are in business, and they make their profits by avoiding liability. And when they cannot avoid liability, their next step is to come up with the lowest settlement offer.
So when they contact you about the accident and make an offer, chances are it is the lowest of the lows. Insurance companies do not care about you as much as they seem in their commercials. Instead, they will always put their interests first; in this case, their interest is to limit their spending and increase their earnings.
These companies will also contact you repeatedly, especially when you desperately need money. They know you will most likely accept any offer without thinking twice when you need the money. At such a time, you may not be able to think straight or even realize how an attorney can help until it is too late. That brings us to the next point.
Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Consider talking to an attorney if you or your loved one has suffered significant injuries after the accident. The attorney will evaluate your claim and guide you on the next steps forward. In addition, the car accident lawyer will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
But that's not all.
One of the reasons insurers contact accident victims shortly after the accident is to prevent them from hiring an attorney. These companies know that car accident attorneys are their worst nightmares. This is because such attorneys fight for their clients' rights, ensuring they receive the compensation they need and deserve.
An experienced car accident attorney can guide you throughout the journey to compensation. From recommending healthcare providers to calculating your damages, you should never underestimate the importance of working with an experienced car accident lawyer.
You will learn so much working with an attorney. For example, did you know that insurance companies sometimes hire private investigators to track accident victims and spy on their lives? And when that happens, many accident victims get denied the settlement they deserve simply because they made certain mistakes somewhere down the line, effectively jeopardizing their eligibility.
For instance, did you know that posting about the accident on social media can jeopardize your claim? Private investigators hired by insurance companies can twist your social media activity in a way that jeopardizes your claim. Remember, private investigators, claims adjusters, defense attorneys, and other parties are all working against you.
In the end, serving the insurance company's interests is all they care about. They do not care whether their version of events is right; they just want to impress the insurance provider. And nothing impresses an insurance company better than finding out they are no longer liable for a particular accident caused by their insurer.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Even though it is important to contact a car accident attorney after such a tragic incident, the kind of attorney you choose to work with could influence your case. For this reason, you need an attorney or law firm with powerful legal resources to fight for you.
The resources aside, you need an attorney with a lot of experience handling these kinds of cases. Car accident cases are complex and involve a lot of technicalities. You deserve an attorney who will navigate these hurdles and help you secure the compensation you need and deserve.
Resources and experience aside, you need a lawyer or law firm with proven results. The last thing you want is an attorney who will use this case as an experiment. Chances are, they will make things even worse for you.
You need proven negotiators. You need aggressive legal representatives. You need Morgan & Morgan car accident attorneys.
If that's what you're looking for, then fill out our free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation form today, and one of our legal representatives will get in touch with you to discuss your case.
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